Wednesday, 07 February 2007

ANDERSON COOPER 84% UPDATE

Ken Berwitz

A couple of days ago I debunked the ridiculous claim by CNN that Anderson Cooper 360 has sliced Fox News Channel's lead by 84%.  I used one day's data and assured readers that it was typical of the preceding days and weeks.

In fairness, I should also show when these percentages materially change.  So here are the latest data available, from Monday February 5, when such a change occurred (source:  Neilsen):

Fox (Greta Van Susteren):  1,572,000 viewers

CNN (Anderson Cooper):     636,000 viewers

Do the math:  636,000 is about 40% of 1,572,000.  So if Anderson Cooper started with NO viewers he would be less than halfway to the mystical 84% "slice".  And if Cooper started with hundreds of thousands of viewers (as he did) the "slice" would be even lower.

As you may have surmised, this presents a bit of a problem for CNN's 84% claim.  Think of it as a hot steamy pile of what a bull produces shortly after lunch.

 

 


DECONSTRUCTING THE CASE AGAINST LIBBY

Ken  Berwitz

First, let's review WHY patrick fitzgerald is going after Lewis Libby. 

Fitzgerald does not (cannot) claim that valerie plame was covert under the law, therefore he does not (cannot) indict anyone for "outing" her.  Not Bush, not Cheney, not Rove, not Rice, not the guy down the street who had the temerity to vote Republican last November, no one at all. 

For years, Bush haters were orgasmic over the prospect of these people being charged, tried, convicted and sentenced.  But facts got in the way.   Facts were the grinch that stole "fitzmas".

This left fitzgerald with one guy to go after.  Lewis Libby.  For what crime?  For possibly misstating the dates that he claims to have heard about plame and when he told others about it.  Please note that this has nothing at all to do with whether plame was a covert agent (which I again point out was not found to be true by fitzgerald).  It has to do with Libby's testimony regarding what has turned out to be a non-crime for which no one is accused of anything. 

If fitzgerald were not looking to save face by getting Libby (so he could say he got SOMEONE) this would be laughed out of court.  On the other hand, Libby did work for a Republican, so it is being treated like the Nuremberg trial by the people who wanted so desperately to bring the Bush administration to its knees.  It's all they have.  So they're praying for a conviction which, I am guessing, would then be utilized to "prove" that everyone else was guilty too.  That's how far down the tubes "plamegate" has gone.

Now, with this in mind, I would like to reprint Byron York's article today from National Review, which tells us a few things going on in the Libby trial that mainstream media have unaccountably overlooked.  Things that make a conviction of Libby even more improbable than before (which is no mean feat).  The bold print is mine.

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Is Everything We Know About Joe Wilsons Trip to Niger Wrong?

New evidence from the Libby trial evidence Senate investigators never saw could change the storyline.

By Byron York

For the last two weeks, a number of Republicans in Washington - in the administration, on Capital Hill, and in the intelligence community - have been watching closely as the perjury and obstruction of justice trial of Lewis Libby unfolds in federal court .  In particular, those Republicans have been poring over dozens of documents released as evidence in the case.  Much of what they've seen is old stuff, things they've known about for years.  But two documents are new, to most eyes at least, and they may significantly change our understanding of hwo the entire Joseph Wilson - Niger affair began.
 
The accepted version of events is that Vice President Dick Cheney got things started when he asked for information about possible Iraqi attempts to purchase uranium in Africa. After that request, CIA employee Valerie Plame Wilson suggested sending her husband to look into the question, and after that, the CIA flew Joseph Wilson to Niger to investigate. But the new documents suggest that Mrs. Wilson suggested her husband for the trip before the vice president made his request. In other words, Joseph Wilsons visit to Niger, which everyone believes was undertaken at the behest of the vice president, was actually in the works before Dick Cheney asked his now-famous question. And if that is true, our current understanding of the chronology of events is wrong.

The story is contained in two exhibits, known in court as DX 66.2 and DX 66.3, entered into evidence by Libbys defense team. The first is a CIA document headlined, Briefers Tasking for Richard Cheney on 02/13/2002. It begins:

Briefer: David D. Terry                         Briefing Date: 02/13/2002
Principal: Richard Cheney

Tasking:
The VP was shown an assessment (he thought from [the Defense Intelligence Agency]) that Iraq is purchasing uranium from Africa. He would like our assessment of that transaction and its implications for Iraqs nuclear program. A memo for tomorrows brief would be great.

The document doesnt seem particularly newsworthy until it is viewed alongside a memo first revealed by the Senate Intelligence Committee in its report on the African uranium matter, released in July 2004. That report cited an e-mail written by Valerie Plame Wilson to her boss, the deputy chief of the CIAs Counterproliferation Division, in which she suggested her husband for the fact-finding mission to Niger. A CIA official told the committee that Mrs. Wilson offered up [Joseph Wilsons] name for the job, and the Senate report quoted the e-mail written by Mrs. Wilson saying, my husband has good relations with both the PM [prime minister] and the former Minister of Mines (not to mention lots of French contacts), both of whom could possibly shed light on this sort of activity.

According to the Senate report, Valerie Plame Wilson sent her e-mail on February 12, 2002 the day before the vice president was briefed on the African uranium matter. The discrepancy between the two dates seems glaring, but was not included in the Senate report. That is because, according to a source familiar with the committees investigation, the CIA did not include the document in the materials it turned over to the committee. Senate investigators apparently never knew the exact date of the vice presidents request, so they never knew it came after Plames e-mail.

What does the new information mean? On February 12, 2002, the Defense Intelligence Agency released inside the government, not publicly a report covering the Africa uranium issue; its title said that Niger had signed an agreement to sell 500 tons of uranium a year to Baghdad. CIA officials told Senate investigators the report spurred requests for information from both the State Department and the Department of Defense. Knowledgeable sources speculate and they stress, they are speculating that those inquiries from State and Defense were made on the 12th, the day the Defense Intelligence Agency report was sent around, and that Valerie Plame Wilson, in suggesting her husband be sent to investigate, was reacting to those requests, and not to the vice presidents question, which came the next day.
In this new version of events, Dick Cheney was the last guy to request more information, not the first; the notion that his request started the whole affair seems wrong.

The other new document entered into evidence in the trial is another CIA memo, this one headlined Memorandum for the Vice President and dated February 14, 2002. That memo appears to begin its not possible to say for sure because it is blacked out with a discussion of the uranium issue, followed by this statement:
We have tasked our clandestine source[s] with ties to the Nigerien Government and consortium officials to seek additional information on the contract. We also are working with the Embassy and the defense attachs office in Niamey [Niger] to verify their reports.

It is not clear from the poorly-defined copies released as evidence whether the memo refers to a clandestine source or clandestine sources. But from everything that we know about the case, Joseph Wilson was the person who was given the assignment to check out the Niger uranium story. Embassy officials were also told about it, as the memo indicates, but Wilson was the CIAs man with ties to the Nigerien government.

If the timing spelled out in the new document is accurate if Wilson had already been picked for the task by February 14 the new evidence sheds a different light on the version of events given by Wilson himself in his book The Politics of Truth. In that, Wilson wrote about a meeting with CIA officials a meeting that took place on February 19, 2002 at which I was asked if I would be willing to travel to Niger to check out the report in question. Perhaps Wilson was indeed asked to go to Niger at that meeting, but the newly-released CIA document suggests the agency settled on Wilson several days earlier.

The source familiar with the Senate Intelligence Committees investigation says the committee was never given the second document, either.

Perhaps it will turn out that there is some mistake in the memos, or in the interpretation of them, and that the generally-accepted version of the story remains accurate. But if the story told in the newly-public memos is correct, our entire understanding of how the CIA leak affair began will have to change
.

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If this were Ken Starr prosecuting and a Democratic chief of staff on the chopping block, do you think for one minute that information of this kind would be ignored by media?  How many editorials and feature articles and segments on Today would there have been attacking fitzgerald as a vicious little snake running a kangaroo court?  MSNBC would have had a suicide watch on chris mouthews and keith olbermann's head would have stood a 50/50 chance of exploding.

It's like watching a three ring circus without the laughs or the fun.  Just the elephant crap.


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